Hogarthian lifestyle. But with swear words

“POLITICALLY incorrect” doesn’t even begin to describe Viz comic, which I’ve been a regular reader of since about 1987. It is offensive, smutty, inappropriate, and all done in the worst possible taste. It’s also brilliantly funny.

So I was looking forward to the last episode of BBC4’s Comics Britannia recently, to see how the talking heads on the programme would deal with Viz, and some of its charcaters, particularly the Fat Slags. Believe it or not, this is how comedian Stuart Lee described them:

It doesn’t really denigrate these women for being fat alcoholic nymphomaniacs, right? It says: “This is a choice they’ve made, and look at the fun they’re having, and wouldn’t you want to be in their Hogarthian lifestyle?” It looks superb…

Another commentator, a university lecturer called Mel Gibson, inevitably used the E-word (empowerment) to describe Sharon and Tracey’s characters.

“Hogarthian lifestyle”? Come. Off. It.

Why can’t these people just accept a cartoon strip for what it is: an exercise in making fun of the stereotypical characters involved, not to make a political point, not as part of some post-feminist manifesto or other, but for laughs. That’s it. Nothing more. The Fat Slags is about slagging off people because it’s funny. And the writers do it extremely well.

Next we’ll be told that Roger’s Profanisaurus is a post-ironic exercise in the democratic evolution of the English language instead of an exercise in encouraging people to think up really funny rude phrases and invent their definitions.

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6 Comments

Filed under Hinterland, Media, Society, TV, Whimsy

6 responses to “Hogarthian lifestyle. But with swear words

  1. The comics in Viz can be good, but the letters page and ‘top tips’ are far better.

  2. Johnny Norfolk

    This is how Britain has become. You are not allowed to have fun without someone taking offence. It is everywhere, less fun, less freedom,less money. I am glad you have noticed it because there is just to much interfearance in our lives. It is of course your party that has set this tone as it thinks it knows best for all of us.

    Get off our backs and leave us alone.

  3. I loved Viz for the first few years of its existence, but when I hit about thirty I grew out of it.

    Sweary words lose their meaning when constantly repeated, like a four-year-old eventually loses interest in saying “bum”.

    I wonder how much those early editions are worth (I still have some). I might take a peek at the letters and tips as Miller reminds us. Maybe I’ll learn something useful.

    Stewart Lee is someone who could easily make me swear. He co-wrote the blasphemous “Jerry Springer – the Opera” and said “one would like to think that comedy could incite religious hatred. That would be great.”

    He turned up for a gig in Ullapool shortly afterwards and absolutely nobody came.

    Despite that setback, Stewart Lee is still a household name, but so is Anusol.

  4. Brian Hall

    You’ve got to remember, the crazy critics have to invent barriers to trade to keep themselves in the job. The more excentric the description the better!

  5. NFN

    I don’t actually see anyone taking offence except you here, Johnny – Tom’s pointing out the absurdity of post-modernist deconstruction of Tracy and Sandra, and that deconstruction is not one in which people take offence.

    I think you need to go and have a lie down…

  6. Johnny Norfolk

    I have not taken offence I am just stating the facts. That under Labour Britain has becom more PC and divided and less tolerant as Toms post shows

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